Gwyneth Paltrow on Men, Movies, and Conscious Uncoupling

The A-list actress came in to the Stern Show for the first time and was refreshingly open and honest with the King of All Media

January 14, 2015
Photo: The Howard Stern Show

A-list superstar Gwyneth Paltrow visited the Stern Show on Wednesday morning for an interview with Howard that covered it all: her famous family, her award-winning acting career, and even her “conscious uncoupling” from Chris Martin.

Check out all of the highlights from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Stern Show debut (below) and hear the full interview (above).


The first movie Gwyneth was offered was “Cool As Ice” starring none other than ’90s pop star Vanilla Ice. It sounds like young Gwyneth wasn’t all that interested in taking the part and after her father, the great Bruce Paltrow, read the script including a scene where his daughter gave Vanilla Ice her phone number—which ended in “6969”—he expressly forbade her from doing it.

It wasn’t long before Gwyneth won a small one-line role as young Wendy in her godfather Steven Spielberg’s movie “Hook.” Two years later she played a Texan grifter in the movie “Flesh and Bone.”

“I worshipped Meg Ryan,” Gwyneth said of her co-star. “I was so nervous around her I couldn’t breathe.”

A string of hits in the ’90s, including in the movie “Seven” where she met her onscreen and offscreen lover Brad Pitt, made Gwyneth an indisputable star. Her defining movie came in 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love” for which she won the Best Actress Oscar (even beating out Meryl Streep). Howard asked her about the long-standing rumor that she saw the script at Winona Ryder’s house and convinced the producer to cast her instead of Winona. It was totally untrue, she revealed.

Howard also loved Gwyneth’s role as the fat girl whom Jack Black sees as smoking hot in the 2001 comedy “Shallow Hal.” It’s a role that Gwyneth loves too and had a blast making the comedy.

And of course you can’t not ask about Gwyneth’s role as Pepper Potts in the blockbuster “Iron Man” franchise. Gwyneth initially wasn’t interested in working when the first “Iron Man” came around—she was in full mother mode—but Robert Downey Jr. convinced her, going as far as saying if she didn’t work again soon, she’d be out of the business.

It’s a good thing she said because she really loved playing the part and working with Robert, even though she said the entire first movie was basically improvised.

There were also a few iconic roles that Gwyneth turned down or lost out on, including Rollergirl in “Boogie Nights,” a part that eventually went to Heather Graham. Paltrow was also a final contender for the role of Rose Dewitt Bukater in “Titanic” that would earn Kate Winslet an Academy Award nomination. It was rumored that Gwyneth passed on Cameron Diaz’s part in “Gangs of New York,” but she told Howard she didn’t remember turning that one down.


Gwyneth has had some high-profile romances with men who are just as famous as she is. Much of her 20s was spent dating the one and only Brad Pitt.

“I definitely fell in love with him,” Gwyneth revealed. “He was Brad Pitt!”

Her parents loved Brad and they were together for years, eventually getting engaged. However, they eventually broke it off. “I was such a kid, I mean I was 22,” Gwyneth said. “It’s taken me until 40 to get my head out of my ass.” Bruce Paltrow was possibly even more upset than Gwyneth about losing Brad.

Gwyneth’s bottom line: “He was too good for me.”

Then, of course, there’s the man that became her husband, Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin. Gwyneth started listening to Coldplay while she was grieving the loss of her father, who passed away in 2002. A friend suggested they take in the local Coldplay concert to try to lift Gwyneth out of her funk and she agreed to go. She met Chris and was attracted to him but had reservations. “I can’t fall in love with a 25-year-old rock star,” Gwyneth remembered thinking.

But fall in love they did. They married and had two children before announcing their separation last year. Gwyneth and Chris are still friends, though, and still a family unit—an idea you might know as “conscious uncoupling.”


To announce her split from Chris Martin, Gwyneth borrowed the phrase “Conscious Uncoupling” from a relationship therapist and it was widely misunderstood and teased. She explained it as simply splitting up without any acrimony. Gwyneth admitted it is a goofy term.

“I made a mistake,” she said about using it in her statement. “I didn’t give it context. But it is a goofy term.”

Another thought Gwyneth had on relationships: Chelsea Handler once revealed that Gwyneth advised her to give her man a blowjob in the middle of an argument. “It’s a good thing energetically to do,” Gwyneth told Howard.

Now Gwyneth stars in the new action comedy “Mortdecai” with Johnny Depp who she’s always wanted to work with. He’s a dream co-star, but he does have one odd quirk: he uses a tiny earpiece to actually listen to music while he’s filming scenes. For “Mortdecai,” he chose jazz and big band stuff.

Unfortunately, the love-fest had to end at some point. “I avoided you for 20 years,” Gwyneth told Howard. “I was scared of you. I started listening to you when I was in eighth grade; all the boys at [my school] St. David’s were obsessed and they turned us on. I listened to you for years when I was a kid.”

“I’ll come back,” she promised. “I will.”

Check out the movie “Mortdecai” in theaters now.